Good progress in fight against HIV and Aids

2010-10-05 00:00

CARE for infants and children require highest attention, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said when it announced that many countries are making significant progress in the fight against HIV and Aids.

Head of department in the KZN province, Dr Sibongile Zungu, said of the announcement: “We too have a lot to celebrate.”

In a report released on the September 28, the WHO says; “significant progress has been made in several low- and middle-income countries in increasing access to HIV/Aids services, we’re on the right track, we’ve shown what works and now we need to do more of it,”

The report also indicated challenges and stated that; “by starting treatment earlier and improving adherence within the first year, we can save many more lives.

“We also need to not only further increase access to key HIV/Aids interventions but also to pay attention to ensure higher quality of these life-saving services.”

It further indicated that, worldwide, many pregnant women and their infants still lacked access to timely interventions. While many countries are now showing significant progress, intensified efforts are urgently needed to reach all mothers and children with the most effective treatment and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) interventions for their own health and for the sake of their communities.

Said Zungu: “The 2009 Antenatal Seroprevalence Survey shows that KwaZulu-natal has an estimated 39,5% HIV prevalence, and according to the HIV Counseling and Testing data it is around 22% — still very high.

“By June 2010, 345 604 HIV positive people were on our antiretroviral therapy programme, made up of 103 182 males, 206 979 females and 33 543 children.

“We have a wall-to-wall coverage of PMTCT services in the province. All pregnant women visiting our clinics and are counseled and enrolled into the PMTCT programme.

“Depending on eligibility, they are either put on lifelong dual therapy, lifelong HAART or if they are negative, they are retested after 32 weeks of pregnancy [just before delivery],” she said.

As World Aids Day draws nearer, a number of initiatives are in the pipeline to ensure that a larger number of people are counseled and tested, said Zungu.

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